Louisville basketball: Three takeaways from ugly win over Pitt

David Johnson #13 of the Louisville Cardinals. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
David Johnson #13 of the Louisville Cardinals. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Louisville basketball
David Johnson #13 of the Louisville Cardinals. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

Cardinals need to get their identity back

Carlik Jones may have helped the cause for Louisville’s troubles that stemmed from a 37-point loss to Wisconsin. But he was certainly not an antidote.

The offense and defense combined seemed to have just been disjointed all game long against Pittsburgh. It never felt like there was a plan for offensive flow which led to a choppy feel on offense and a defense that just felt lazy and slow to react.

Carlik Jones can not have many games where he shoots 3-for-12 from the field and David Johnson can not turn the ball over 13 times through a two game stretch many more times this season and expect to come out of games victorious.

Jones had seven of the team’s 11 assists on the night. That just is not good enough from the rest of the guys. All that should tell you is that the team as a whole was not moving the ball at a rate that is good enough to put up high quality numbers.

The Cardinals struggle shooting the ball from deep. David Johnson is not a polished shooter and while Josh Nickelberry will provide a spark in that department as he works back, there are not many natural deep range shooters on this squad.

Leadership is a concern.

On some nights, Carlik Jones seems like the leader on the team. On others, it feels like Johnson.

One of these guys has to emerge as a leader vocally. The team feels like they need some spark or a fire lit under them to play to their full potential and to come close to out-working the opposing team.

It could be an unlikely name with time, but Jones and Johnson make the most sense to step up in such a role without Malik Williams in the lineup.

The Louisville-Kentucky game is usually one played with a ton of emotion.

Could a vocal leader make their presence known when the team needs it most? Stay tuned.

Final thoughts

A win is a win no matter how cliché that statement may be. The Cardinals are 5-1 and lucked out with two of Pitt’s best players being forced out of this game due to injury.

Kentucky may be 1-5 this year, but everyone understands the talent that the team possesses. One more performance like this one on Saturday could spell doom for the Cardinals against the Wildcats (or any other ACC team).

The hope is that the team can perform once again like they did in the first four games to start the season and less like the last two.

Louisville will have a chance to flex their muscles in one of the nation’s biggest rivalries this weekend.